T Nation

Getting into MMA, Advice

Want to get into MMA, more as a hobby, a few fights here and there. I have background in Boxing, state champ in high school for the federation I was in. I do this and weights almost everyday. I know most here would be against that, but I was able to progress well in both while I was Boxing exclusively. JUst had to program well.

Anyway my question is what schools would be recommend/ approaches? I’ve heard mixed advice on the whole mma school vs muay thai and mma school for example. The MMA gym is where you put it all together, while you go to other schools for additional work in other areas, while other just told me it was a waste of money and just keep to the MMA school.
thanks in advance.

Afaik, either find a good MMA school (rare to find, many are breeding grounds for assholes who are just into UFC) or learn no-gi BJJ (otherwise known as wrestling with different rules) and boxing and/or muay thai.

But I think people learn muay thai because of some super-duper mystique behind it than genuine practicality over other stand-ups. Much like the mystique that existed behind karate back when TMAs were the rage. Karate is perfectly fine if you actually spar with the shit you learn. The problem is that you generally don’t.

Since you seem to have a solid background in striking already a “MMA Gym” would probably be fine for you. That being said I would try to focus on jyujitsu or wrestling while still working your standup. Most MMA gyms have regular classes as well and most MMA classes have different focus on certain days and there is normally a day or two where you spar using all techniques.

I think a big problem with MMA gyms are the people in MMA gyms. So many guys want to do MMA without realizing that you must really be good in at least one area of fighting while you work to get better at the others and develop what works for you. If you were green I would tell you to focus on one art first. I see so many people training some striking and some ground and they are not really good at either one.

[quote]magick wrote:
Afaik, either find a good MMA school (rare to find, many are breeding grounds for assholes who are just into UFC) or learn no-gi BJJ (otherwise known as wrestling with different rules) and boxing and/or muay thai.

But I think people learn muay thai because of some super-duper mystique behind it than genuine practicality over other stand-ups. Much like the mystique that existed behind karate back when TMAs were the rage. Karate is perfectly fine if you actually spar with the shit you learn. The problem is that you generally don’t.[/quote]

I have to call you out on this Magick. You’re denouncing Muay Thai, but using Karate as an example? If you think there is a better system to learn how to kick like a mule than Muay Thai you’ll need to show me, because I haven’t seen one. And if you are seriously suggesting that there is an adequate level of undiluted stand up training in an MMA gym that exceeds the quality you’d receive at a pure boxing or Muay Thai gym, I haven’t found one yet. Do I even need to name the UFC fighters that have a history in Muay Thai with exceptional records?

How did you develop your kicking ability outside of kickboxing/Muay Thai?

[quote]Ranzo wrote:
Since you seem to have a solid background in striking already a “MMA Gym” would probably be fine for you. That being said I would try to focus on jyujitsu or wrestling while still working your standup. Most MMA gyms have regular classes as well and most MMA classes have different focus on certain days and there is normally a day or two where you spar using all techniques.

I think a big problem with MMA gyms are the people in MMA gyms. So many guys want to do MMA without realizing that you must really be good in at least one area of fighting while you work to get better at the others and develop what works for you. If you were green I would tell you to focus on one art first. I see so many people training some striking and some ground and they are not really good at either one.[/quote]

There are judo and wrestling clubs at the school but the wrestling club requires high school experience. If the judo club is up to par would that he something I should look into as well?
I hear a lot of good things about judo.

Judo and boxing compliment each other really well, IMO. Especially for someone who’s doing it more as a hobby than a “I want to be world champion some day.” And even then, judo and boxing is a pretty good place to start.

[quote]texas man wrote:

[quote]Ranzo wrote:
Since you seem to have a solid background in striking already a “MMA Gym” would probably be fine for you. That being said I would try to focus on jyujitsu or wrestling while still working your standup. Most MMA gyms have regular classes as well and most MMA classes have different focus on certain days and there is normally a day or two where you spar using all techniques.

I think a big problem with MMA gyms are the people in MMA gyms. So many guys want to do MMA without realizing that you must really be good in at least one area of fighting while you work to get better at the others and develop what works for you. If you were green I would tell you to focus on one art first. I see so many people training some striking and some ground and they are not really good at either one.[/quote]

There are judo and wrestling clubs at the school but the wrestling club requires high school experience. If the judo club is up to par would that he something I should look into as well?
I hear a lot of good things about judo.
[/quote]

Judo is pretty awesome and I agree with Melvin, it would compliment boxing. I use Judo takedowns more often than wrestling style because I don’t have to get on my knees.

Where about in Texas are you?

If you’re looking at Judo, find someplace that trains in Freestyle Judo. IJF and USA Judo have eliminated a lot of effective techniques for sake of competition, so a lot of schools don’t teach them (leg attacks, elements of groundwork, etc). Freestyle still incorporates single leg attacks, and actually encourages ne waza.

[quote]Steve-O-68 wrote:
Where about in Texas are you?

If you’re looking at Judo, find someplace that trains in Freestyle Judo. IJF and USA Judo have eliminated a lot of effective techniques for sake of competition, so a lot of schools don’t teach them (leg attacks, elements of groundwork, etc). Freestyle still incorporates single leg attacks, and actually encourages ne waza. [/quote]

I havnt updated my location, sorry. I’m going to ballstate university in Indiana right now. My friend was an Olympic tkd hopeful (like Denver camp and everything) , but it didn’t pan out, so he switched to mma. I’m actually looking at the mma gyms in muncie/Anderson togther with him. I’ll look for any judo schools in town but as a college student if the judo club is decent and cheaper it’ll probably be a better option for me.
That’s another thing he’s helping me out with kicks and everything reguarded with that.

[quote]Steve-O-68 wrote:
Where about in Texas are you?

If you’re looking at Judo, find someplace that trains in Freestyle Judo. IJF and USA Judo have eliminated a lot of effective techniques for sake of competition, so a lot of schools don’t teach them (leg attacks, elements of groundwork, etc). Freestyle still incorporates single leg attacks, and actually encourages ne waza. [/quote]

Not disagreeing with you, but freestyle judo clubs can be hard to find. Besides, most clubs will have many many people that competed back in the day when rules weren’t all fucked up like they are now. They’ll teach you the recently banned techniques if you just ask

I’d second what others said in regards to working primarily on your grappling skills (specifically takedown defense) given your past striking experience. I’m sure a good boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai coach could still teach you things about striking, but given your past success in that arena I think it’s fair to say that you have much less to learn than you do about grappling and are more likely to be exploited in a MMA fight for that lack of grappling skill.

In regards to which would be better, a MMA gym or school specializing in a specific skill set/style, I think it’s important to take into consideration your goals for learning the art(s), your window of time to learn your craft, what is available to you in your area, and what your financial situation/budget allows for.

So in that light, here are some pros and cons (from my experience) in training at a good MMA school vs a good specialist school:

MMA school:
Pros-
-you will develop all necessary skill sets at least to an adequate level and so shouldn’t have any glaring weaknesses in you game
-you will learn how to blend the skill sets together in a synergistic fashion
-your conditioning for MMA will generally be better all around than someone who only trains one discipline
-you won’t learn skills that don’t directly carry over to MMA

Cons-
-you probably will take much longer (if you get there at all) to become world class at any one specific skill set/would probably lose to a specialist in their given discipline
-in many cases the level of knowledge and skill of the coach(s) are not at an elite level in all of the skill sets and this the level of instruction in a given discipline probably won’t be as high as it would be at a specialist school
-there will be less time spent on each discipline as compared to a specialist school and thus your schedule may not allow you sufficient time to train in all of the disciplines
-because MMA is still a relatively new sport and you have a lot of guys coming from specializations, there is still a lot of figuring out just what really works, how to most effectively blend stuff together, and how to best prepare/condition the fighters for the cage without them getting injured in the process

Specialty school:
Pros-
-since they focus entirely on one discipline there is generally a pretty high level of instruction in that discipline (again, assuming good school) and thus a good coach/coaches should be able to appropriate the skills taught to different fighters to allow them to make the most of their natural strengths while minimizing their natural weaknesses
-because only one discipline is trained you will generally have an overall higher degree of skill in that one discipline than a MMA school that spreads it’s time/energy across other disciplines
-because only one discipline is trained there is a better chance that you can find times to train that discipline in your schedule
-since most of the specialty disciplines have been around for a while as is (with a few exceptions like the recent rule changes in Judo) coaches/athletes have for the most part figured out what works as far as producing quality skilled fighters within that discipline

Cons-
-time limitations; if you are able to start at 5 years old and get to a truly world class level in a given discipline and then eventually cross train and round out your game, you will probably be a force to be reckoned with, but if you are starting as an adult and need to get as good at everything as quickly as possible in just a few years, then this may not be the best route for you
-lack of understanding about the specificity of MMA and the adjustments in technique and strategy that need to be made to the individual disciplines (boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Judo, BJJ, etc…) that make up MMA when all of them are in play
-tendency to develop “tactical tunnel vision”/to become too focused on using one discipline/arsenal regardless of the appropriateness of that discipline/arsenal
-only developing conditioning specific to the given discipline/specialization

In many cases the best route would be to train at a MMA gym for the development of synergizing the disciplines, developing conditioning in all aspects of MMA, learning MMA strategy and how to adjust the skills accordingly to that specific arena of application, and to become as well a rounded as possible; while at the same time also training with specialists in the areas where you are weakest to bring up those aspects as quickly as possible. Whether that is financially feasible or possible from a time availability standpoint is the real issue there.

Hopefully this helps. Good luck

[quote]magick wrote:
Afaik, either find a good MMA school (rare to find, many are breeding grounds for assholes who are just into UFC) or learn no-gi BJJ (otherwise known as wrestling with different rules) and boxing and/or muay thai.

But I think people learn muay thai because of some super-duper mystique behind it than genuine practicality over other stand-ups. Much like the mystique that existed behind karate back when TMAs were the rage. Karate is perfectly fine if you actually spar with the shit you learn. The problem is that you generally don’t.[/quote]

Muay thai is practical, some fighters have been able to use muay thai elbows very effectively; can’t think of any off the top of my head but i’ve seen plenty of them in highlight reels. As for kicks, low shin kicks and knees work very well in combinations because you can quickly regain your footing. High kicks such as those in TKD leave you on one foot for long enough that your opponent can counter easily and it would be impractical to set up combinations anyway. FWIW I do not what techniques are unique to karate though

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
I’d second what others said in regards to working primarily on your grappling skills (specifically takedown defense) given your past striking experience. I’m sure a good boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai coach could still teach you things about striking, but given your past success in that arena I think it’s fair to say that you have much less to learn than you do about grappling and are more likely to be exploited in a MMA fight for that lack of grappling skill.

In regards to which would be better, a MMA gym or school specializing in a specific skill set/style, I think it’s important to take into consideration your goals for learning the art(s), your window of time to learn your craft, what is available to you in your area, and what your financial situation/budget allows for.

So in that light, here are some pros and cons (from my experience) in training at a good MMA school vs a good specialist school:

MMA school:
Pros-
-you will develop all necessary skill sets at least to an adequate level and so shouldn’t have any glaring weaknesses in you game
-you will learn how to blend the skill sets together in a synergistic fashion
-your conditioning for MMA will generally be better all around than someone who only trains one discipline
-you won’t learn skills that don’t directly carry over to MMA

Cons-
-you probably will take much longer (if you get there at all) to become world class at any one specific skill set/would probably lose to a specialist in their given discipline
-in many cases the level of knowledge and skill of the coach(s) are not at an elite level in all of the skill sets and this the level of instruction in a given discipline probably won’t be as high as it would be at a specialist school
-there will be less time spent on each discipline as compared to a specialist school and thus your schedule may not allow you sufficient time to train in all of the disciplines
-because MMA is still a relatively new sport and you have a lot of guys coming from specializations, there is still a lot of figuring out just what really works, how to most effectively blend stuff together, and how to best prepare/condition the fighters for the cage without them getting injured in the process

Specialty school:
Pros-
-since they focus entirely on one discipline there is generally a pretty high level of instruction in that discipline (again, assuming good school) and thus a good coach/coaches should be able to appropriate the skills taught to different fighters to allow them to make the most of their natural strengths while minimizing their natural weaknesses
-because only one discipline is trained you will generally have an overall higher degree of skill in that one discipline than a MMA school that spreads it’s time/energy across other disciplines
-because only one discipline is trained there is a better chance that you can find times to train that discipline in your schedule
-since most of the specialty disciplines have been around for a while as is (with a few exceptions like the recent rule changes in Judo) coaches/athletes have for the most part figured out what works as far as producing quality skilled fighters within that discipline

Cons-
-time limitations; if you are able to start at 5 years old and get to a truly world class level in a given discipline and then eventually cross train and round out your game, you will probably be a force to be reckoned with, but if you are starting as an adult and need to get as good at everything as quickly as possible in just a few years, then this may not be the best route for you
-lack of understanding about the specificity of MMA and the adjustments in technique and strategy that need to be made to the individual disciplines (boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Judo, BJJ, etc…) that make up MMA when all of them are in play
-tendency to develop “tactical tunnel vision”/to become too focused on using one discipline/arsenal regardless of the appropriateness of that discipline/arsenal
-only developing conditioning specific to the given discipline/specialization

In many cases the best route would be to train at a MMA gym for the development of synergizing the disciplines, developing conditioning in all aspects of MMA, learning MMA strategy and how to adjust the skills accordingly to that specific arena of application, and to become as well a rounded as possible; while at the same time also training with specialists in the areas where you are weakest to bring up those aspects as quickly as possible. Whether that is financially feasible or possible from a time availability standpoint is the real issue there.

Hopefully this helps. Good luck

[/quote]
Thanks for the in depth reply

Yea looks like the plan will be an mma gym that has some good ground work classes and then go to the schools judo club to further improve and get practice

If you are up in TN area hit me up. We can train. That goes for anybody in this section I guess.

[quote]magick wrote:
Afaik, either find a good MMA school (rare to find, many are breeding grounds for assholes who are just into UFC) or learn no-gi BJJ (otherwise known as wrestling with different rules) and boxing and/or muay thai.[/quote]

Nogi jitz is known as wrestling with different rules… HAHAHAHA

[quote]Jarvan wrote:

[quote]magick wrote:
Afaik, either find a good MMA school (rare to find, many are breeding grounds for assholes who are just into UFC) or learn no-gi BJJ (otherwise known as wrestling with different rules) and boxing and/or muay thai.[/quote]

Nogi jitz is known as wrestling with different rules… HAHAHAHA
[/quote]

Mind backing up the “hahahahahaha”?

comparing wrestling to jitz is comparing apples to oranges.

the scoring is different, the attire, footwear, legal techniques, you can’t figure four your opponent in wrestling, you need an arm in for headlocks in scholastic wrestling, there’s no choking in wrestling, anything that can remotely be dangerous (aka looks like a submission move) will be flagged for ‘potentially dangerous’ by the referee, wrestling strictly abides by weight classes, the emphasis is pinning in wrestling… whereas it’s submission in jitz.

Ya… Those all fall under the “different rules” category.

The use of a gi makes bjj and judo substantially different from wrestling. Enough to the point that the they can be said to be rather quite incomparable to one another. Your “apple to oranges” comparison is apt here.

But no-gi bjj? What differentiates it from wrestling besides the fact that, as you said, they have different aims and rule-sets? In both cases you have people in skin-tight clothing grappling one another. The rule differences may make them quite different, but the fact remains that they share core similarities.

In any case, the only thing that really separates the grappling arts from each other are the rules that they adhere to anyhow. If you had people just fight each other with no rules and create some sort of structured martial arts from that, then it would be a mix of submission grappling and all wrestling variations out there. So, in that fashion, I suppose my claim itself is probably pointless.

I just find the entire title of “no-gi bjj” weird. I mean… once you get rid of the gi it really has nothing to do with bjj. A good number of techniques and principles no longer apply. It would be more apt to just call it submission grappling.

[quote]Jarvan wrote:
comparing wrestling to jitz is comparing apples to oranges.

the scoring is different, the attire, footwear, legal techniques, you can’t figure four your opponent in wrestling, you need an arm in for headlocks in scholastic wrestling, there’s no choking in wrestling, anything that can remotely be dangerous (aka looks like a submission move) will be flagged for ‘potentially dangerous’ by the referee, wrestling strictly abides by weight classes, the emphasis is pinning in wrestling… whereas it’s submission in jitz.[/quote]

And no Oil Checking in BJJ that’s a win. Unless your into that do wrestling.

[quote]texas man wrote:
Want to get into MMA, more as a hobby, a few fights here and there. I have background in Boxing, state champ in high school for the federation I was in. I do this and weights almost everyday. I know most here would be against that, but I was able to progress well in both while I was Boxing exclusively. JUst had to program well.

Anyway my question is what schools would be recommend/ approaches? I’ve heard mixed advice on the whole mma school vs muay thai and mma school for example. The MMA gym is where you put it all together, while you go to other schools for additional work in other areas, while other just told me it was a waste of money and just keep to the MMA school.
thanks in advance.
[/quote]

well, if you want to be successful in MMA, then i’d suggest find a MMA/grappling style that compliments your boxing style.

i think some guys in MMA that come from high level striking are unsuccessful because they don’t prepare for the ground game. either they rely solely on TD defense, or hope that they can out-strike everybody because of their boxing/KB/whatever…

i think 2 combinations work great… the boxer/wrestler, and the muay thai/jiujitsu fighter.

muay thai fighters are dangerous if they use their legs, and if they’re afraid to fight off their backs, they won’t. so, IMO, they need to learn BJJ, at a minimum…

the boxer/wrestler typically doesn’t rely on kicks, but the transition between boxing and take-downs. if you don’t have any take-downs, then your boxing won’t get much respect… Marcus Davis was an interesting example of a boxer’s evolution in MMA. too bad he didn’t get started when he was younger…

i think Frankie Edgar best exemplifies the boxer/wrestler now…

i was training for a tournament on my own a while back (well, not on my own, but not at a real school). since none of us had real technical ability in most things, we drilled tons of combinations (in order to speed up our pace, etc). but not just boxing combos, or whatever, but MMA drills… jab-single leg, jab-cross-double leg, sprawl-hook-outside trip, etc…